LaKeith Stanfield explains good storytelling and how he’s processing his past trauma with music

Actor LaKeith Stanfield is no stranger to the spotlight, but he doesn’t care about being famous — only being able to tell good stories. 

“Whether it’s a Black story, a yellow story, a purple or a green story — if there’s no real story, there’s no reason to do it,” Stanfield tells the Hollywood Reporter. “The kinds of stories you get in this business can be very racist.”

“I’m not saying that I think society is super racist or anything, but there are definitely things that are ingrained into the fabric of how we tell stories in this country, especially in cinema, that have a racist history,” he continues.

Fans have been able to get a glimpse of Stanfield’s commanding presence in films such as Sorry to Bother You, Ava Duvernay‘s Selma and Jordan Peele’s Get Out, as well as on the Emmy-winning show, Atlanta.

After nearly a decade in the industry, Stanfield is making use of this pandemic time at home to reflect on his life, the recent death of a loved one and his childhood, which he says “was kind of traumatic.”  Elsewhere in the interview, he addressed the disturbing images he previously shared on Instagram, in which he was doing shots out of empty pill bottles. Fans believed he was contemplating self-harm, but he says that wasn’t the case.  

“That was just a way to show what I was feeling in visual form,” he explains. “But the truth is, I wasn’t very happy. I was keeping sad-boy hours. I was going through things. I’m learning maybe Instagram’s not the best way to channel some of that stuff.”

To process his trauma, LaKeith Stanfield is searching for a therapist and working on a hip-hop EP, titled Htiekal, which is his first name spelled backward.

By Rachel George
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